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Campbell scare mongers on minimum wage: NDP

Premier Gordon Campbell said that if the NDP were to win the election next month, small business payrolls would increase by 25 to 30 per cent.

But NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston accused Campbell of playing loose with the truth.

Campbell’s remarks, made at a BC Liberal event last weekend, were based on the NDP’s plan to increase minimum wage from eight to ten dollars an hour, said BC Liberal spokesman Chad Pederson.

The effect such a raise might have on the payroll costs of any business, small or large, will range widely, depending on how many low wage workers they employ, argued Ralston. Campbell’s blanket estimate of 25 percent or more is “completely false,” he said.

“I think it’s a serious matter when the Premier of the province five or six weeks from an election campaign doesn’t tell the truth about the policies of the opposition,” added Ralston.

“The premier has been making this claim in a number of places, but it’s actually quite misleading” and “desperate politics,” said Sara Goldvine, communications person for the NDP Caucus.

Goldvine said the minimum wage increase does not target small businesses specifically, as the Premier implied. Pointing to Wal-Mart and McDonalds, she said: “Most businesses that pay minimum wage are not small business.”

Said Pederson from the Campbell camp: “Typically we do let the premier’s comments stand for themselves. I think we have to leave them at that.”

Morgan J. Modjeski is a reporter for The Hook

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